Lafrenière scores 2nd of season, Rangers beat Capitals 4-1


WASHINGTON (AP) — Alexis Lafrenière scored his second NHL goal, Artemi Panarin had two assists and the New York Rangers made the best of a new-look lineup, beating the Washington Capitals 4-1 Saturday for their second consecutive victory.

Lafrenière, the top pick in the 2020 draft, cashed in on his promotion to New York’s top line by scoring for the first time in eight games. Panarin set up Lafrenière on the doorstep late in the second period, and his shot provided the rebound for Chris Kreider‘s power-play goal in the first.

With a goal and an assist, Ryan Strome made history as the first player to record 100 points apiece with the Rangers and Islanders. Igor Shesterkin made 27 saves, Mika Zibanejad sealed it with an empty-netter with 2:12 left and New York strung together back-to-back wins for just the second time this season.

The Capitals struggled to match the Rangers’ energy early in a game moved up to an afternoon start, falling behind 3-0 before Dmitry Orlov scored his first goal of the season with 38.2 seconds left in the second period. Vitek Vanecek allowed three goals on 24 shots in his 13th consecutive start, and Washington’s winning streak was snapped at two.


The Rangers’ Kaapo Kakko was a surprise scratch after being added to the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list. The 2019 No. 2 pick previously was on the list Feb. 1-2, when general manager Jeff Gorton said Kakko was “fine” and coach David Quinn expected him back sooner than later.

Kakko missed one game that time. He’s the second Rangers player in league protocol, along with injured forward Filip Chytil.


Beyond Quinn’s changes up front, the Rangers got rookie defenseman K’Andre Miller back after he missed two games with an upper-body injury. Miller replaced Jack Johnson on the blue line, which is without Jacob Trouba for at least a month because of a broken thumb and Tony DeAngelo for the foreseeable future as the team attempts to trade him.


Washington again flip-flopped goalies Saturday morning, activating Craig Anderson and sending Ilya Samsonov to the taxi squad. Samsonov hasn’t played since Jan. 17 and got two minor league rehab starts in the past week since recovering from COVID-19.

“We’re still working to get Sammy back — he’s just had a long time off here — to get him back to where he’s going to be comfortable where he does play a game for us,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “We’ll continue to work on his conditioning.”


Rangers: Get a few days off before visiting the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday.

Capitals: Get right back at it Sunday night against the New Jersey Devils.


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